Hydro CIRCAL is a prime-quality aluminium that is obtained by dismantling old windows, doors and facades that have reached the end of their lifecyle and remelting them for reuse again. This process makes it possible to reduce the removal of minerals from the earth, avoids the emissions of waste into the natural environment, reduces the energy consumption of the production process and limits the amount of CO2 emissions released into the atmosphere.
In short, Hydro CIRCAL is a much more environmentally friendly product that primary aluminium and one which contributes to the development of a circular economy through the reuse of materials.
The production process of Hydro CIRCAL 75R is characterised by a rigorous selection of the material to be recycled in order to achieve a prime quality alloy for the manufacture of sustainable aluminium building systems.
Aluminium is a material that can be found in dozens of different alloys. Aluminium alloys are also usually found in combinations with other elements such as magnesium, manganese, copper, zinc, silicon, titanium and chromium depending on the use for which it was produced.
The Hydro plant in Dormagen, Germany has developed the technology to efficiently sort and separate aluminium from other metals and directs each one for the correct recycling process. This system allows aluminium with the right alloy to be sent to Hydro's melting plants.
The Norwegian Multinational company Norsk Hydro owns the TECHNAL Brand and supplies it with all the aluminium used to make windows, doors and facades. With more than 20,000 employees and production plants around the world, Hydro is the world's leading producer of aluminium. Aluminium from Hydro is used to make trains, cars, aeroplanes, computers, mobile phones and other everyday objects as well as building systems. With the launch of Hydro CIRCAL, Hydro brings the first certified post-consumer recycled aluminium to the market.
Unlike other materials, aluminium can be fully recycled without losing its physical properties or degrading in quality. It's estimated that there are 200,000,000 tons of aluminium used in products globally that can be 100% recyclable at the end of their lifecycle.
Hydro uses this recycling process to replace the extraction of bauxite (the mineral from which aluminium is obtained) with the remelting of post-consumer scrap aluminium. The objective is to reduce the exploitation of natural resources, even though alumina is the third most abundant element on the planet.
The other aim is to prevent disposing of objects that can be recycled and have an infinite life within the circular economy. This process is called urban mining and aims to turn cities into the main supply points for building materials.
Creating a circular economy in construction, where products and materials are kept in use for as long as possible through re-use and recycling is essential. Tim Adams, our Sales Manager for the East, looks at how a circular economy can prevent waste and reduce the embodied carbon of buildings as well as its having a key role in ensuring the industry has the resources required to meet the future needs of the UK.
Hydro CIRCAL is the world's first certified recycled aluminium with at least 75% of the prime-quality aluminium alloy comes from at post-consumer materials.
The most substantial difference between Hydro CIRCAL and other alloys that contain recycled content is that Hydro CIRCAL creates a new life for windows, doors and facades that have already been used in buildings before, preventing them from being sent to landfill.
Far from being the final result of post-consumer scrap content, 75% is for Hydro CIRCAL the minimum requirement of a continuous improvement process to progressively reach total recycling.
The production of primary aluminium from the extraction of Bauxite requires a large amount of energy with current industrial processes. This translates into abundent CO2 emissions, the main greenhouse gas and a direct cause of climate change.
By recycling post-consumer scrap aluminium, the remelting process saves up to 95% of this energy and provides a material of the same high quality as primary aluminium.
The consequence of using Hydro CIRCAL is the drastic reduction in CO2 emissions which sums more than 85% when compared with the global average for primary aluminium production. With its 2.3 kg of CO2 per kg of aluminium, Hydro CIRCAL is currently the aluminium alloy with the lowest CO2 emissions available on the market. It won't stop there. The goal is to reduce the footprint further and use an alloy containing 100% post-consumer recycled aluminium scrap.
What is the difference between choosing TECHNAL products extruded using Hydro CIRCAL aluminium and products made using primary aluminium from other sources?
The average carbon footprint of aluminium used in Europe is 8.6kg of CO2 for every kg of aluminium. With Hydro CIRCAL, this carbon footprint drops to 2.3 kg of aluminium, so 6.3 kg of CO2 is prevented from entering the atmosphere with every kg of aluminium.
A typical aluminium window uses around 20kg of aluminium, which generates an average saving of 126kg of CO2 emissions for each window system.
How do you know whether the recycled aluminium systems you're specifying are made from aluminium that's actually been used before or is it simply 'clean' waste from the production process.
More to the point, why should you care?
1 home= 5 windows
1 window = 20 kg of aluminium (average)
5,000 kg of primary aluminium x 8.6kg CO2 = 43,000 kg of CO2 emissions
5.000 kg of Hydro CIRCAL 75R aluminium x 2.3 kg of CO2 = 11,500 kg CO2 emissions
Using TECHNAL windows made with Hydro CIRCAL 75R in this building represents a reduction of CO2 emissions by 31,500 kg.
This is equivalent to the emissions of 21 cars during an entire year.
We believe that to be truly sustainable, we must look to a world beyond four walls and work to make it a reality – starting today. That´s why we go beyond world-class low-carbon materials, to run every part of our business as sustainably as possible.